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Sean Rigg's Family "Livid" Over PC Resignation

Thursday 29th May 2014

The family of a man who died in police custody in south London say they are angry the Met Police has accepted the resignation of the officer involved in restraining him.

Sean Rigg Schizophrenic Sean Rigg died at Brixton police station in August 2008.

PC Andrew Birks has reportedly resigned from the Met ahead of a new review of the case.

His family have called for Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-How to withdraw his acceptance of the resignation of PC Birks, who was the senior arresting officer involved in the restraint.

Mr Rigg, who had a 20-year record of mental illness, died after he was kept in the caged footwell of a police van handcuffed, face down with his legs bent sufficiently far back for his heels to touch his buttocks.

A coroner found that he died as a result of cardiac arrest, acute arrhythmia, ischemia and partial asphysixia.

After an independent review criticised the original IPCC investigation the watchdog decided to re-open the disciplinary and criminal investigations into Sean’s death.

In April this year, PC Birks and the other officers involved signed a consent order agreeing to an IPCC disciplinary re-investigation and earlier this month the High Court gave the go ahead for it to begin.

However it is reported that the resignation of PC Birks was tendered and accepted before the IPCC were able to serve him with notices under the misconduct regulations.

Marcia Rigg, Sean Rigg’s sister said that the family is "livid".

"There is no doubt in our minds that this decision by PC Birks was taken to avoid the risk of him being held accountable for his conduct towards Sean on 21 August 2008 and acquiring a disciplinary record, possibly for gross misconduct," she continued.

"It was wrong for the Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, to accept his resignation. He was wholly aware of the position PC Birks was in.

"We are also extremely alarmed that the IPCC has not seen fit before now to even consider advising the MPS to suspend ALL the officers involved or for the MPS to do this of its own accord.

"The delays in this case, the failure to suspend officers and this resignation of PC Birks, if it does take effect on 1 June 2014, are outrageous and destroy public confidence in the police complaints system.

"It is almost 6 years since Sean's death, and almost 2 years since the inquest and the jury's damning verdict.  Our family should not be denied justice and accountability any longer."

UPDATE: The Met police has confirmed it has reconsidered his resignation request and the Deputy Commissioner has decided to rescind his resignation. PC Birks has been suspended.